April 22, 2014

Reimagining Your Employee Handbook: Has the Time Finally Come?

Most employee handbooks are nearly identical to each other, regardless of the industry, workforce size or the jurisdictions in which business is conducted. Very little thought is given to the purpose behind these policies, how they impact and reflect your corporate culture and what they are designed to actually accomplish. At best, most companies slightly tweak a template they found on the Internet or in a form book. And when outside counsel is retained to review a company’s handbook, the sole focus is on whether the policies comply with federal and state law. This thought-provoking session will address:

  • What’s the real purpose of having an employee handbook?
  • Does having an “at-will” policy really have any impact on reducing litigation and if not, should it be substituted for something else?
  • Is it finally time to “borrow” a chapter from the unionized workplace and implement a binding grievance procedure – with real teeth – followed by mandatory arbitration?
  • Does your code of conduct reflect the “real world” and does it address, in both legal and practical ways, an employee’s use and abuse of social media, medical marijuana, destructive behavior and other acts of misconduct, and the importance of cooperating in a company investigation?
  • Does your sexual harassment policy and reporting procedure need to be retooled and if so, should workplace bullying be addressed?
  • How are disability leaves that are requested after FMLA, CFRA and PDL run out dealt with?
  • Does your handbook sufficiently protect your company’s proprietary information and trade secrets?
  • How to ensure that your handbook fully complies with the laws of every jurisdiction in which your employees are based.

Reimagining Your Employee Handbook